Thursday, March 30, 2006

This Writing Life

The question people seem to want to ask writers is about what the life is like. If it's not nine to five, then when and how and according to what schedule does one work? Does one sit staring at the keyboard waiting for the Muse to descend? Inspiration or perspiration? Where do you get your ideas from? And so on.

Interestingly this sort of questioning does seem to have died down a bit over the last ten or fifteen years though. Me, I think it's computers. The romance of the quill pen and the attic starvation routine is comprehensively over. Everyone uses computers for all kinds of things, and that fact has demystified the whole Being a Writer schtick quite a lot. From the inside, it was never mystified in the first place; just hardscrabble bouncing from one gig to another, providing of course that you're lucky enough to be getting enough work to live on in the first place.

So, MY DAY: Having got home last night from participating in a forum about writing just in time to watch House, I then did a couple of hours on some examining of dissertations in Gastronomy, results urgently needed by the university, before I went to bed. Up this morning to try to finish the last of said dissertations (marks, at least; the reports will have to wait) before going off to teach a 90-minute master class to the group who formed the hard core of the forum audience last night.

Between getting home from that mid-afternoon and going out again tonight to a review a play (theatre 29 km from my house; the review will have to be written and filed before I go to bed, and I don't expect to be home much before eleven) I need to start working on the two book reviews, one of which is due on April 1, the other already overdue. Tomorrow I will work on the book reviews and the examiners' reports, stopping only for a working lunch with the editor of a magazine to which I contribute.

Some time in there I expect to get an email from the person working on the grant application for a big project I'm involved in to say that my contribution to the application isn't good enough and could I please make it bigger and better. Tomorrow I also need to do a bit of creative banking, as some of the work I've not yet been paid for was done and dusted as long ago as the beginning of February.

From where I'm standing, the writer's life is one in which no books get written. You're too busy making a living.


  1. All that and a blog, too. Quick! Someone get this woman a Macarthur Fellowship grant! And a gin and tonic.

  2. Yes, please.

    Not necessarily in that order, either.